OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 28, 2014, 06:50:13 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Orthodoxy and Suicide  (Read 2605 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« on: September 05, 2009, 08:38:43 AM »

CONTEXT NOTE:  The following discussion split off from this thread:  On the recent tragedy in the Atlanta Metropolis, please take the time to read.  To keep that thread the meditation it was meant to be, please use THIS thread here to air your speculations regarding why an Orthodox Christian would commit suicide.  Thank you.

-PtA



Why would a young Orthodox like Stephanie commit suicide? I am really troubled about this, but all I can do for now is pray.

It's so hard to say why... but, having the experience of my own father's suicide, I believe it does not matter how old the person is, or of what faith. All of us are tormented by some demons. Some less, some more. And so many people - including teenages and even pre-teens - have severe dysbalances in the chemistry of their brain, which may not manifest to any other person, only to the person in whom these dysbalances develop.

There should be a bigger awareness of problems like depression and anxiety. Kids should be taught at their schools that there exist things like neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, etc. Just preaching to kids is not enough - you will talk to this kid about the love of God etc., but the kid, having this distorted picture of the world because of his/her brain chemistry dysbalances, will enthusiastically respond to your sermon, and yet think about where to get this gun with this bullet, and where to shoot it, in the temple or in the heart. It's a very, very serious problem of the proper education of our communities, of our citizens of all ages and creeds...
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 03:33:53 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged

Love never fails.
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,524



« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2009, 02:47:42 PM »

Why would a young Orthodox like Stephanie commit suicide? I am really troubled about this, but all I can do for now is pray.

It's so hard to say why... but, having the experience of my own father's suicide, I believe it does not matter how old the person is, or of what faith. All of us are tormented by some demons. Some less, some more. And so many people - including teenages and even pre-teens - have severe dysbalances in the chemistry of their brain, which may not manifest to any other person, only to the person in whom these dysbalances develop.

There should be a bigger awareness of problems like depression and anxiety. Kids should be taught at their schools that there exist things like neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, etc. Just preaching to kids is not enough - you will talk to this kid about the love of God etc., but the kid, having this distorted picture of the world because of his/her brain chemistry dysbalances, will enthusiastically respond to your sermon, and yet think about where to get this gun with this bullet, and where to shoot it, in the temple or in the heart. It's a very, very serious problem of the proper education of our communities, of our citizens of all ages and creeds...

I would like to follow up please. Relatively new scientific research has shown that adolescence is an extremely difficult stage in a person's life and lasts longer than anybody had previously thought. First, let me set up the stage  with the following wiki article about the pre-frontal cortex:

"The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain, lying in front of the motor and premotor areas.

This brain region has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, decision making and moderating correct social behavior. The basic activity of this brain region is considered to be orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals.

The most typical psychological term for functions carried out by the pre-frontal cortex area is executive function. Executive function relates to abilities to differentiate among conflicting thoughts, determine good and bad, better and best, same and different, future consequences of current activities, working toward a defined goal, prediction of outcomes, expectation based on actions, and social "control" (the ability to suppress urges that, if not suppressed, could lead to socially-unacceptable outcomes)."

Next, the common definition of adolescence (again from Wiki): "Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and mental human development that occurs between childhood and adulthood. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes."

Recent research has involved imaging the electrical activity of the brain from pre-adolescence, so that the subjects' start of adolescence (onset of puberty) is captured. What the research found out that, with the onset of puberty, the pre-frontal cortex started to develop with the following two major trends in brain activity: the pre-frontal cortex activity lessened appreciably and the centers of the brain dealing with emotions fired up. Interestingly, this pattern typically lasts until mid-twenties for females and until late-twenties for males. The CDC says the following about critical adolescent health behaviors:

" Six Critical Health Behaviors

   1. Alcohol & Drug Use. Alcohol is used by more young people in the United States than tobacco or illicit drugs, and is a factor in approximately 41% of all deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
       
   2. Injury & Violence (including suicide). Injury and violence is the leading cause of death among youth aged 10-24 years: motor vehicle crashes (30% of all deaths), all other unintentional injuries (15%), homicide (15%), and suicide (12%).
       
   3. Tobacco Use. Each day in the United States, approximately 4,000 adolescents aged 12-17 try their first cigarette. Each year cigarette smoking accounts for approximately 1 of every 5 deaths, or about 438,000 people. Cigarette smoking results in 5.5 million years of potential life lost in the United States annually.
       
   4. Nutrition. Healthy eating is associated with reduced risk for many diseases, including the three leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, and stroke. In 2007, only 21.4% of high school students reported eating fruits and vegetables five or more times daily (when fried potatoes and potato chips are excluded) during the past 7 days.
       
   5. Physical Activity. Participation in physical activity declines as children get older. Overall, in 2007, 35% of 9-12 graders had participated in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity.
       
   6. Sexual Risk Behaviors. Each year, there are approximately 19 million new STD infections in the United States, and almost half of them are among youth aged 15 to 24. In 2007, 39% of currently sexually active high school students did not use a condom during last sexual intercourse.

These behaviors usually are established during childhood, persist into adulthood, are inter-related, and are preventable. In addition to causing serious health problems, these behaviors also contribute to the educational and social problems that confront the nation, including failure to complete high school, unemployment, and crime."

So, there you are: adolescents ARE different. We have barely started to consider the ramifications of the latest findings but it is clear that parents do not have much control over their kids during this period (we know this experientially, don't we?) and the kids themselves are handicapped in making sound decisions and avoiding risky behaviors.

I hope that this knowlege will moderate any impulses Stephanie's parents, mentors, and friends may have in blaming themselves. I certainly hope that it will also moderate anyone's thinking about Stephanie herself. Finally, I do think that we all need to moderate our thinking about suicides when it comes to adolescents.

Logged

Michal: "SC, love you in this thread."
ms.hoorah
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 866


« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2009, 03:30:14 PM »

^^Please add to this list the fact that many of our preteens/teens are continuously subjected to the horrors of peer bulllying.  Going to school is a daily nightmare for many youth.
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2009, 04:48:13 PM »

I still do not understand why my post to Presvytera Mari's thread was a "disrespect."

We need to educate ourselves and others and the children about suicide, depression, serotonin, serotonin receptors, serotonin reuptake, etc. No matter how well-wishing we are, just preaching God's love to kids is not cutting it. In the USA, there is this horrible decline in knowledge, reasoning, grasping the facts, etc. I see it every single day, as a teacher at a small state-run (almost=ghetto) university in the Deep South of the USA. Thousands over thousands of kids know absolutely nothing about the real things and the real processes that take place in their brains. So... let's just pray. And let's show that His Grace Bishop this and that appreciates our tragedy. Big fat load of help to those who are thinking, right now, about taking a gun to their head or heart. Sad Sad Sad
Logged

Love never fails.
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 31,532


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2009, 05:04:22 PM »

I still do not understand why my post to Presvytera Mari's thread was a "disrespect."
I think it has to do with context.  On the thread where your "disrespect" originally appeared, the focus of discussion is a very profound personal tragedy that we who have not experienced it first-hand may find difficult to understand fully, but we still need to be sensitive to all those who were left devastated by this by not speculating as to why young Stephanie Pappas decided to kill herself.  Here on this new thread, the focus IS on the reasons why an Orthodox Christian would resort to suicide, therefore making your attempt to explain the "why" more appropriate.

In the end, I think it best not to get hung up on trying to understand why your words on the other thread were seen as disrespectful and just uncritically respect the fact that someone was offended.  It's kinduva moot point right now, anyway, since this thread now exists as a way to vent off the more general questions asking "Why?".
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2009, 05:54:03 PM »

I still do not understand why my post to Presvytera Mari's thread was a "disrespect."
I think it has to do with context.  On the thread where your "disrespect" originally appeared, the focus of discussion is a very profound personal tragedy that we who have not experienced it first-hand may find difficult to understand fully, but we still need to be sensitive to all those who were left devastated by this by not speculating as to why young Stephanie Pappas decided to kill herself.  Here on this new thread, the focus IS on the reasons why an Orthodox Christian would resort to suicide, therefore making your attempt to explain the "why" more appropriate.

In the end, I think it best not to get hung up on trying to understand why your words on the other thread were seen as disrespectful and just uncritically respect the fact that someone was offended.  It's kinduva moot point right now, anyway, since this thread now exists as a way to vent off the more general questions asking "Why?".

Peter, but why, why is this a moot point? I do believe that all of us, whether we say it out loud or not, ask the question, "why" - and  the answer to the question, "why?', is that there are imbalances in brain chemistry. All these... well, you know, I am tempted to put quotation marks here but I won't - Fathers, had no green idea about that, any of that... the words like serotonin or serotonin receptor or serotonin uptake did not, could not ring any bell in their minds...

So, we have two choices: follow their teaching, based on fantastic, speculative ideas about life, happiness, pleasure, displeasure, woe, tragedy, conflict, desperation etc. - or develop a teaching that is incorporating ideas that began to spread in our own time... The ideas that there is this neuron, and it has its receptors for serotonin, and when the presynaptic neuron releases serotonin, there might be not enough time in some individuals for this presynaptic serotonin to bind the postsynaptic serotonin receptor and to initiate this cascade of enzymatic signal transduction reactions in the cytoplasm of the postsynaptic neuron...

And of course the first choice is easier, and of course the good pious Orthodox summer camp teachers are following this first choice, and of course there is a general reaction of outrage against rebels like me who say that their preachy summer camp agenda is totally useless if they do not incorporate science in it (or even replace it by science...)

Fathers rule. Science drools. 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 05:56:54 PM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 31,532


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2009, 06:05:30 PM »

I still do not understand why my post to Presvytera Mari's thread was a "disrespect."
I think it has to do with context.  On the thread where your "disrespect" originally appeared, the focus of discussion is a very profound personal tragedy that we who have not experienced it first-hand may find difficult to understand fully, but we still need to be sensitive to all those who were left devastated by this by not speculating as to why young Stephanie Pappas decided to kill herself.  Here on this new thread, the focus IS on the reasons why an Orthodox Christian would resort to suicide, therefore making your attempt to explain the "why" more appropriate.

In the end, I think it best not to get hung up on trying to understand why your words on the other thread were seen as disrespectful and just uncritically respect the fact that someone was offended.  It's kinduva moot point right now, anyway, since this thread now exists as a way to vent off the more general questions asking "Why?".

Peter, but why, why is this a moot point?
The point I think is moot has only to do with where we are discussing this question.  The discussion you wish to have is good and proper--yea, even necessary.  My only concern had to do with the fact that it is better to have this discussion on a separate thread where we can explore your questions without the fear that we may be crassly insensitive to those who are grieving the suicide death of a particular person to whom they were very close.

I do believe that all of us, whether we say it out loud or not, ask the question, "why" - and  the answer to the question, "why?', is that there are imbalances in brain chemistry. All these... well, you know, I am tempted to put quotation marks here but I won't - Fathers, had no green idea about that, any of that... the words like serotonin or serotonin receptor or serotonin uptake did not, could not ring any bell in their minds...

So, we have two choices: follow their teaching, based on fantastic, speculative ideas about life, happiness, pleasure, displeasure, woe, tragedy, conflict, desperation etc. - or develop a teaching that is incorporating ideas that began to spread in our own time... The ideas that there is this neuron, and it has its receptors for serotonin, and when the presynaptic neuron releases serotonin, there might be not enough time in some individuals for this presynaptic serotonin to bind the postsynaptic serotonin receptor and to initiate this cascade of enzymatic signal transduction reactions in the cytoplasm of the postsynaptic neuron...

And of course the first choice is easier, and of course the good pious Orthodox summer camp teachers are following this first choice, and of course there is a general reaction of outrage against rebels like me who say that their preachy summer camp agenda is totally useless if they do not incorporate science in it (or even replace it by science...)

Fathers rule. Science drools. 
You want to make this a debate of "Science vs. the Fathers."  That's all well and good, but only here on this separate thread is it most appropriate. Wink  It's all about location.
Logged
Catherine
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 453


« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2009, 06:12:06 PM »

^^Please add to this list the fact that many of our preteens/teens are continuously subjected to the horrors of peer bulllying.  Going to school is a daily nightmare for many youth.

Add to this list economical issues, the breakdown of traditional family structure and a highly competitive society.

Here is some more information concerning suicide..

Source: WHO

http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/index.html


• Suicide results from many complex sociocultural factors and is more likely to occur particularly during periods of socioeconomic, family and individual crisis situations (e.g. loss of a loved one, employment, honour); however, mental disorders (particularly depression and substance abuse) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide.
•In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years (both sexes); these figures do not include suicide attempts up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide.
•Suicide worldwide is estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998, and 2.4% in countries with market and former socialist economies in 2020.
•Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.

Hi George,

Are you saying that faith and prayer cannot reduce levels of depression and anxiety? 

Edit: I'm just trying to understand your thoughts, that's all...
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 06:17:32 PM by Catherine » Logged
GammaRay
The Awful Preacher
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek
Posts: 574


Alexandros Papadiamantis


« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2009, 06:03:46 PM »

Can someone give us some information about Orthodoxy's views on suicide? I haven't read anything yet.
Logged

Though I've walked the valley of the shadow of the death, I've fallen not. Not completely. Not yet.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2009, 07:01:13 PM »

Can someone give us some information about Orthodoxy's views on suicide? I haven't read anything yet.

AFAIK, basically, it's like, if a person committed suicide being under the influence of a disease, he/she can have a funeral. As if there are other suicide victims. I think our good Orthodox fathers and clergy have a very foggy idea about the work of the human brain...
« Last Edit: September 06, 2009, 07:01:43 PM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 31,532


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2009, 07:25:12 PM »

I still do not understand why my post to Presvytera Mari's thread was a "disrespect."
I think it has to do with context.  On the thread where your "disrespect" originally appeared, the focus of discussion is a very profound personal tragedy that we who have not experienced it first-hand may find difficult to understand fully, but we still need to be sensitive to all those who were left devastated by this by not speculating as to why young Stephanie Pappas decided to kill herself.  Here on this new thread, the focus IS on the reasons why an Orthodox Christian would resort to suicide, therefore making your attempt to explain the "why" more appropriate.

In the end, I think it best not to get hung up on trying to understand why your words on the other thread were seen as disrespectful and just uncritically respect the fact that someone was offended.  It's kinduva moot point right now, anyway, since this thread now exists as a way to vent off the more general questions asking "Why?".

Peter, but why, why is this a moot point? I do believe that all of us, whether we say it out loud or not, ask the question, "why" - and  the answer to the question, "why?', is that there are imbalances in brain chemistry. All these... well, you know, I am tempted to put quotation marks here but I won't - Fathers, had no green idea about that, any of that... the words like serotonin or serotonin receptor or serotonin uptake did not, could not ring any bell in their minds...

So, we have two choices: follow their teaching, based on fantastic, speculative ideas about life, happiness, pleasure, displeasure, woe, tragedy, conflict, desperation etc. - or develop a teaching that is incorporating ideas that began to spread in our own time... The ideas that there is this neuron, and it has its receptors for serotonin, and when the presynaptic neuron releases serotonin, there might be not enough time in some individuals for this presynaptic serotonin to bind the postsynaptic serotonin receptor and to initiate this cascade of enzymatic signal transduction reactions in the cytoplasm of the postsynaptic neuron...

And of course the first choice is easier, and of course the good pious Orthodox summer camp teachers are following this first choice, and of course there is a general reaction of outrage against rebels like me who say that their preachy summer camp agenda is totally useless if they do not incorporate science in it (or even replace it by science...)

Fathers rule. Science drools. 
I'm not sure I see why you're picking on the Fathers on this particular matter, since no one else has yet brought up specific quotes to show how particular Fathers viewed suicide.  Until such citations appear on this thread, it looks very much as if you're just beating a straw man of your own creation.  Maybe you're not, but how am I to know?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2009, 07:25:42 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
pensateomnia
Bibliophylax
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Posts: 2,346


metron ariston


« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2009, 07:39:06 PM »

AFAIK, basically, it's like, if a person committed suicide being under the influence of a disease, he/she can have a funeral.

That is true.

As if there are other suicide victims.

Yes, there are. In some cultures, modern and ancient, including that of the early Church, suicide was considered an acceptable -- indeed, honorable -- course of action under a variety of circumstances. Socrates was long held up as the paragon of pre-meditated, rational, honorable suicide. He may have been eccentric, but, based on his words in the Crito, I don't think you could say he was depressed. Some ancient cities even had state-sponsored suicide, whereby a person would make an actual legal argument before a court in order to receive hemlock from the government.

It's that kind of attitude and practice against which the Church stands. It wasn't that long ago when suicide after defeat in battle was the norm in several non-Christian cultures.
Logged

But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)
John of the North
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Edmonton and the West
Posts: 3,533


Christ is Risen!

tgild
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2009, 09:14:24 PM »

In his book, Hesychia and Theology, His Grace, Hierotheos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, writes “According to the patristic meaning of the word, everyone is a psychopath, that is to say, his soul is sick….For the psychiatrist, the psychopath means…he is suffering from a psychosis: a schizophrenic. From the Orthodox standpoint, however, it is someone who has not undergone purification of the passions or attained illumination…”  (pg.26)
Logged

"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,524



« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2009, 09:44:39 PM »

In his book, Hesychia and Theology, His Grace, Hierotheos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, writes “According to the patristic meaning of the word, everyone is a psychopath, that is to say, his soul is sick….For the psychiatrist, the psychopath means…he is suffering from a psychosis: a schizophrenic. From the Orthodox standpoint, however, it is someone who has not undergone purification of the passions or attained illumination…”  (pg.26)

Thanks Ukiemaster for providing a very good example of "good Orthodox fathers and clergy (who) have a very foggy idea about the work of the human brain." We did not have to delve too far back either: His Eminence Hierotheus is my age.

This is not to say that faith and prayer does not help. However, they should be considered at the same time as medical and other therapeutic interventions. A good friend of mind is a recovering cocaine addict and is (gasp!) a Pentecostal Pastor of a Church that is operating three recovery houses and is using conjoint faith based and secular evidence-based counseling approaches. The pastor himself is a licensed counselor and he maintains that both approaches are needed. I believe him.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2009, 09:59:33 PM by Second Chance » Logged

Michal: "SC, love you in this thread."
Punch
Warned
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Body of Christ
Posts: 5,098



« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2009, 10:45:27 AM »

In his book, Hesychia and Theology, His Grace, Hierotheos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, writes “According to the patristic meaning of the word, everyone is a psychopath, that is to say, his soul is sick….For the psychiatrist, the psychopath means…he is suffering from a psychosis: a schizophrenic. From the Orthodox standpoint, however, it is someone who has not undergone purification of the passions or attained illumination…”  (pg.26)

Thanks Ukiemaster for providing a very good example of "good Orthodox fathers and clergy (who) have a very foggy idea about the work of the human brain." We did not have to delve too far back either: His Eminence Hierotheus is my age.

This is not to say that faith and prayer does not help. However, they should be considered at the same time as medical and other therapeutic interventions. A good friend of mind is a recovering cocaine addict and is (gasp!) a Pentecostal Pastor of a Church that is operating three recovery houses and is using conjoint faith based and secular evidence-based counseling approaches. The pastor himself is a licensed counselor and he maintains that both approaches are needed. I believe him.

Given that Pentecostals are not Orthodox, I am not sure how your friends issue has anything to do with the writings of His Eminence Hierotheus.  I believe an Orthodox Bishop has a VERY good understanding of the human brain, and an understanding that all healing is possible via the God who created us.  You can believe a Protestant heretic if you wish.  I will believe the Bishop. 
Logged

Orthodox only because of God and His Russians.
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 31,532


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2009, 10:28:45 PM »

In his book, Hesychia and Theology, His Grace, Hierotheos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, writes “According to the patristic meaning of the word, everyone is a psychopath, that is to say, his soul is sick….For the psychiatrist, the psychopath means…he is suffering from a psychosis: a schizophrenic. From the Orthodox standpoint, however, it is someone who has not undergone purification of the passions or attained illumination…”  (pg.26)

Thanks Ukiemaster for providing a very good example of "good Orthodox fathers and clergy (who) have a very foggy idea about the work of the human brain." We did not have to delve too far back either: His Eminence Hierotheus is my age.
How do the Metropolitan's words contradict our scientific understanding of the human brain?  Is it possible that he's offering a differing perspective to be considered together with the scientific, and not instead of?
Logged
HandmaidenofGod
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarch)
Posts: 3,378


O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2009, 12:22:19 AM »


Why would a young Orthodox like Stephanie commit suicide? I am really troubled about this, but all I can do for now is pray.

Why would her religious affiliation or age prevent the demons of depression attacking her? All of us are susceptible to this. All we know about her is her name was Stephanie and she was Orthodox. We do not know what was going on in her life, what outside circumstances could have driven her to this, or what internal battles she was facing.

Unfortunately whatever problems they were, she felt they were more than she could handle, and rather than reach out for help, she decided to end her life.

It's so hard to say why... but, having the experience of my own father's suicide, I believe it does not matter how old the person is, or of what faith. All of us are tormented by some demons. Some less, some more. And so many people - including teenages and even pre-teens - have severe dysbalances in the chemistry of their brain, which may not manifest to any other person, only to the person in whom these dysbalances develop.

There should be a bigger awareness of problems like depression and anxiety. Kids should be taught at their schools that there exist things like neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, etc. Just preaching to kids is not enough - you will talk to this kid about the love of God etc., but the kid, having this distorted picture of the world because of his/her brain chemistry dysbalances, will enthusiastically respond to your sermon, and yet think about where to get this gun with this bullet, and where to shoot it, in the temple or in the heart. It's a very, very serious problem of the proper education of our communities, of our citizens of all ages and creeds...

I disagree.

While kids *should* be taught about science in schools (many High Schools are now offering Psychology courses in High School; Biology and Chemistry have long been staples of the American High School experience) I don't believe an education about neurotransmitters will stop a suicidal person from putting a gun to their head.

What I *do* believe will help is having people in these teens lives that they know they can go to in a time of crisis.

Having worked with many teens throughout the years, many of them feel like they can't go to their parents when they are in trouble, whether that "trouble" be perceived or real.

It's so important for parishes to have Youth Groups with leaders who care and who are willing to be there for the teens when they are in crisis. Knowing that someone cares, will listen to them, take them seriously, and will not patronize them.

Let's face it, the Senior Prom (or fill in the blank with any other High School event) may not be all that important to you and me, but to a teenager, it's everything.  I think if more teens felt like they had someone they could go to, maybe more suicides could be prevented.

Just my humble, unscientific opinion...
Logged

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
Punch
Warned
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Body of Christ
Posts: 5,098



« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2009, 04:01:26 PM »

HandmaidenofGod, all I can say is Amen!
Logged

Orthodox only because of God and His Russians.
admiralnick
Cardinal, Editor for Photogalleries
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,880


« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2009, 04:02:30 PM »

I was under the impression that suicide prevented one self from being given an orthodox funeral and burial.

From the Carpatho-Russian Church Web Site (Under the EP):

Suicide

No believer is permitted to take the life of another and likewise cannot take his own life. Suicide is murder, self-inflicted and therefore a grave sin. Committing suicide signifies a loss in the perception of the goodness of our heavenly Father and shows that patience, hope and faith in God has been lost. A person of faith, regardless how great the difficulties he or she faces, must never resort to suicide as a so-called solution to problems in life. Orthodoxy denies Christian burial of one who knowingly commits suicide. Only when a physician certifies that such a sad victim of circumstances has indeed lost sanity entirely does the Church permit the final obsequities be celebrated with recourse to the diocesan hierarch, mandatory in such cases.

http://www.acrod.org/readingroom/ethics/moralissues

-Nick
Logged

The ORIGINAL: "NULL"
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,954


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2009, 04:31:42 PM »

I still do not understand why my post to Presvytera Mari's thread was a "disrespect."

We need to educate ourselves and others and the children about suicide, depression, serotonin, serotonin receptors, serotonin reuptake, etc. No matter how well-wishing we are, just preaching God's love to kids is not cutting it. In the USA, there is this horrible decline in knowledge, reasoning, grasping the facts, etc. I see it every single day, as a teacher at a small state-run (almost=ghetto) university in the Deep South of the USA. Thousands over thousands of kids know absolutely nothing about the real things and the real processes that take place in their brains. So... let's just pray. And let's show that His Grace Bishop this and that appreciates our tragedy. Big fat load of help to those who are thinking, right now, about taking a gun to their head or heart. Sad Sad Sad 

First of all, from my experience in a middle-of-the-road HS education, is that elementary bio basis of behavior (endorphins, hormones, et al., receptors, equilibrium, addiction, etc.) are covered in HS Bio, which most (if not all) High Schools offer.

Second, the major issues with suicide and depression are perceived or real support, and perceived or real self-value, and perceived or real impact on others - those are issues that need to be addressed with children, young adults, and parents, and in a more intense way with those exhibiting symptoms (depressive tendencies, self-injurious behaviors, etc.).  Teaching kids that their bodies are going through chemical rollercoasters won't help them feel better or well-supported; building up their support networks, inherent self-worth, and the positive impact of those around them (friends, parents, etc.) will.

Third, while I don't want to discount your opinions or perspectives, I would be careful if I were you with my tone and approach when dispensing advice on how to treat anyone with a chemical imbalance, serious depressive episode, etc.  Just as you ask us to leave it to the experts on evolution & science, I'll ask others to leave it to the experts on Psychology and Counseling (which, believe it or not, does not exclude necessarily priests with no Psych degrees).
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 04:40:36 PM by cleveland » Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
LizaSymonenko
Слава Ісусу Христу!!! Glory to Jesus Christ!!!
Global Moderator
Toumarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: God's Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Posts: 12,634



WWW
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2009, 05:03:47 PM »


If I may pose a question...why are there so many more cases of "depression" these days?

If it's due to the economic conditions, loss of employment, financial struggles, etc....isn't this part of living?  Don't people have a right to be depressed without getting all drugged up to make them feel "good"? 

My parents/grandparents lived through revolutions, wars, labor camps, etc.  Nobody needed to take drugs, they just prayed more.

Before, you all jump on me, I completely understand about biological issues.  There most definitely are people out there who do have chemical imbalances.
However, I cannot believe that all the folks downing anti-depressants these days actually have biological abnormalities.

I'm just afraid that it's become the "norm" in our society.  Someone isn't happy...well, lets give them drugs to make them happy.  Why?  Isn't it healthy to suffer a bit?  Don't you become a bit more humble, and realize you don't own the world?  Doesn't it bring you closer to God?

Of course, nobody should suffer great pain...I am not advocating that....but, minor depression is a fact of life.  We should learn to depend on the Lord and ask for His help to get us through it...not pop some pill.

As for the suicide and funeral issue....murder is a sin.  However, with murder, the sinner has a chance and hopefully repents.  With suicide, the sinner has no opportunity to repent.  That's my understanding.

However, there are always cases of "economia"  where the priest/bishop decides on what brought this person to suicide.  If it was not intended...if the person didn't do it of free will and premeditation...well....

However, if the person became despondent because they've lost their savings, their house, their wife, etc.  Suicide is not the way to go.  It's tough...no question.  But, one must have faith in God.  One must turn to Him for help.  He will not turn away....ever.  Remember, everything in this world is temporal.  It will not follow us into the next life.  We must not get too attached to material things.

As Orthodox Christians, it is our duty to be kind and helpful to all.  Take a moment to phone your friends, to stop and talk to them after church....to be interested in the world around you.  The one kind word you speak, may be all that is needed in a person's life to hold them up.

It is our responsibility to keep our "family" healthy.  We need to take care of and love each other.

Having said that....if there's anything I can do for any of you, please let me know - anytime!

Love and hugs to everyone!

Liza


Logged

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,954


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2009, 05:28:39 PM »

Unfortunately, both the overall number and the rate of those who suffer from serious depression that is aided by genetics or environment is bound to increase as the total population does: genetic mutations can & will increase in the population as it grows, and some of the factors that can lead to serious depression/suicide attempts (such as exposure to others' suicide attempts, exposure to violence, family history of mental disease or addiction disorders, alcohol and drug use, etc.) naturally increase when the population increases and as social boundaries are broken down (increased comfort with discussion of these topics outside close-knit family circles, videos of attempts, etc.).

What is astounding is the rate of failure in suicide attempts, which depending on the source is between 80 and 88%.

Time and time again it has been demonstrated that the best means of preventing suicide amongst children are helping kids cope with stress, anxiety, aggression, substance abuse, and existing mental disorders.  These foci can be pretty accurate indicators of why serious depression & suicide may be higher now: more stress at a younger age (and for this one, think global & local, not one or the other), less ability or willingness to cope with it, substance abuse issues, etc.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
HandmaidenofGod
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarch)
Posts: 3,378


O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2009, 06:57:38 PM »

I was under the impression that suicide prevented one self from being given an orthodox funeral and burial.

From the Carpatho-Russian Church Web Site (Under the EP):

Suicide

No believer is permitted to take the life of another and likewise cannot take his own life. Suicide is murder, self-inflicted and therefore a grave sin. Committing suicide signifies a loss in the perception of the goodness of our heavenly Father and shows that patience, hope and faith in God has been lost. A person of faith, regardless how great the difficulties he or she faces, must never resort to suicide as a so-called solution to problems in life. Orthodoxy denies Christian burial of one who knowingly commits suicide. Only when a physician certifies that such a sad victim of circumstances has indeed lost sanity entirely does the Church permit the final obsequities be celebrated with recourse to the diocesan hierarch, mandatory in such cases.

http://www.acrod.org/readingroom/ethics/moralissues

-Nick


Ultimately it's left the Bishop's discretion to decide whether or not a funeral is done.
Logged

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
Punch
Warned
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Body of Christ
Posts: 5,098



« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2009, 10:02:14 PM »

Liza,

I personally believe that there is really no more chemical depression now than there ever was.  What I believe we have is fewer people who look to God as the giver of all things, and fewer who see suffering and trials as a means of strengthening us.  We have gotten so used to things going well that when something does not go well, we go to pieces.  And rather than deal with the real issue, which is our own imperfection and distance from God, we have those, even within the Church, who try to put some "scientific" label to nearly everything, including plain old bad behavior.  For my part, I cannot see how someone who has quelled the passions and lives a life of prayer and thanksgiving to God can be driven to the despondency that leads to suicide.  I agree completely with Cleveland that we must, as part of the Body of Christ, pay particular attention to our children, both our own and those of our brothers and sisters, so that when the inevitable temptations and trials come, they are prepared to deal with them.  We must understand that not all have the strength to weather the trials and tribulations on their own.  Even parents cannot always be all that a child needs.  We, the Church, must be there for them.
Logged

Orthodox only because of God and His Russians.
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,524



« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2009, 10:58:57 PM »

In his book, Hesychia and Theology, His Grace, Hierotheos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, writes “According to the patristic meaning of the word, everyone is a psychopath, that is to say, his soul is sick….For the psychiatrist, the psychopath means…he is suffering from a psychosis: a schizophrenic. From the Orthodox standpoint, however, it is someone who has not undergone purification of the passions or attained illumination…”  (pg.26)

Thanks Ukiemaster for providing a very good example of "good Orthodox fathers and clergy (who) have a very foggy idea about the work of the human brain." We did not have to delve too far back either: His Eminence Hierotheus is my age.

This is not to say that faith and prayer does not help. However, they should be considered at the same time as medical and other therapeutic interventions. A good friend of mind is a recovering cocaine addict and is (gasp!) a Pentecostal Pastor of a Church that is operating three recovery houses and is using conjoint faith based and secular evidence-based counseling approaches. The pastor himself is a licensed counselor and he maintains that both approaches are needed. I believe him.

Given that Pentecostals are not Orthodox, I am not sure how your friends issue has anything to do with the writings of His Eminence Hierotheus.  I believe an Orthodox Bishop has a VERY good understanding of the human brain, and an understanding that all healing is possible via the God who created us.  You can believe a Protestant heretic if you wish.  I will believe the Bishop. 

We may have a problem with definitions here. When you write "I believe an Orthodox Bishop has a VERY good understanding of the human brain," my immediate reaction is to question the logical relationship here. I would think that being a bishop (Orthodox or otherwise_) does not automatically confer one with an appreciable (let alone VERY) good understanding of the human brain. Last I looked, seminaries do not offer courses in human anatomy, nor is this a charisma conferred on our bishops. You must have meant the soul rather than the brain. However, the good bishop clearly states (in the quotation that Ujie provided) that schizophrenia is a disease of the soul. If this is so, a bishop would be prepared by his theological education and his charisma to offer this particular prescription, which would of course be correct. The problem is that schizophrenia is not a spiritual condition but an organic brain disease.

In the cited quotation, the Metropolitan clearly does not understand what psychosis is, particularly schizophrenia. From the Wiki: "Schizophrenia (pronounced /ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfriːniə/), from the Greek roots skhizein (σχίζειν, "to split") and phrēn, phren- (φρήν, φρεν-; "mind") is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. Distortions in perception may affect all five senses, including sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, but most commonly manifest as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking with significant social or occupational dysfunction...Increased dopamine activity in the mesolimbic pathway of the brain is consistently found in schizophrenic individuals. The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication; this type of drug primarily works by suppressing dopamine activity. Dosages of antipsychotics are generally lower than in the early decades of their use. Psychotherapy, and vocational and social rehabilitation are also important. In more serious cases—where there is risk to self and others—involuntary hospitalization may be necessary, although hospital stays are less frequent and for shorter periods than they were in previous times."

Again, this is not the soul being sick; this is the brain malfunctioning through no fault of the patient. This is not to say that (a) the Lord cannot perform miracles or that He does not respond to prayers and (b) that, even if the individual is not cured of this organic disease, a different kind of healing can occur. This disease has many co-morbidities, among which depression, substance abuse and suicide are the most frequent and of course the Lord may heal any or all of these conditions, as well as the schizophrenia itself. BTW, human medical and counseling interventions cannot cure this disease yet; the only thing that they can do is reduce the severity so that the patient may be able function.

Once again, this is not Orthodox bishop vs. Protestant heretic. This is about respecting God's creation enough to (a) recognizing the true nature of the illness and (b) trusting the Lord's wisdom in providing us humans with the intelligence and wisdom to be able to recognize and treat the disease. I do not see a conflict between scientific truths and faith; both are the creation and gifts of the Lord to humanity--regardless of whether they are true believers or heretics.

Finally, because mental illness and in particular schizophrenia are not known by many people, would it be helpful to think in terms of multiple sclerosis, mental retardation, cancer, muscular dystrophy, childhood diabetes, etc...? Would you say that a person suffering from any of these conditions "is someone who has not undergone purification of the passions or attained illumination"?

It is laudable for Bishops to have faith on the healing powers of the Lord, who himself healed many ailments.  However, I cannot think of one good reason for an untrained person (even a Bishop) to make medical judgments and to conflate diseases of the souls with the diseases of the body. Remember my friend that Bishops are one of us, albeit with specific gifts, duties and responsibilities, and their authority does not require any of us to check our brain at the narthex.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 11:32:17 PM by Second Chance » Logged

Michal: "SC, love you in this thread."
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,524



« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2009, 11:07:48 PM »


Why would a young Orthodox like Stephanie commit suicide? I am really troubled about this, but all I can do for now is pray.

Why would her religious affiliation or age prevent the demons of depression attacking her? All of us are susceptible to this. All we know about her is her name was Stephanie and she was Orthodox. We do not know what was going on in her life, what outside circumstances could have driven her to this, or what internal battles she was facing.

Unfortunately whatever problems they were, she felt they were more than she could handle, and rather than reach out for help, she decided to end her life.

It's so hard to say why... but, having the experience of my own father's suicide, I believe it does not matter how old the person is, or of what faith. All of us are tormented by some demons. Some less, some more. And so many people - including teenages and even pre-teens - have severe dysbalances in the chemistry of their brain, which may not manifest to any other person, only to the person in whom these dysbalances develop.

There should be a bigger awareness of problems like depression and anxiety. Kids should be taught at their schools that there exist things like neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, etc. Just preaching to kids is not enough - you will talk to this kid about the love of God etc., but the kid, having this distorted picture of the world because of his/her brain chemistry dysbalances, will enthusiastically respond to your sermon, and yet think about where to get this gun with this bullet, and where to shoot it, in the temple or in the heart. It's a very, very serious problem of the proper education of our communities, of our citizens of all ages and creeds...

I disagree.

While kids *should* be taught about science in schools (many High Schools are now offering Psychology courses in High School; Biology and Chemistry have long been staples of the American High School experience) I don't believe an education about neurotransmitters will stop a suicidal person from putting a gun to their head.

What I *do* believe will help is having people in these teens lives that they know they can go to in a time of crisis.

Having worked with many teens throughout the years, many of them feel like they can't go to their parents when they are in trouble, whether that "trouble" be perceived or real.

It's so important for parishes to have Youth Groups with leaders who care and who are willing to be there for the teens when they are in crisis. Knowing that someone cares, will listen to them, take them seriously, and will not patronize them.

Let's face it, the Senior Prom (or fill in the blank with any other High School event) may not be all that important to you and me, but to a teenager, it's everything.  I think if more teens felt like they had someone they could go to, maybe more suicides could be prevented.

Just my humble, unscientific opinion...

I very strongly agree with Liza. Adolescents do need facts and need to accumulate knowledge. However,since their problem is the inability to made good decisions, there must be a protective caccoon woven all around them. Liza's suggestions about caring and attentive adults are on point. I would add that praying for them would also help. I think that we have made two big mistakes in the modern era: (a) we leave the kids on their own, unsupervised far too early and for too long a time, and (b) for corrective action, we resort to preaching at them and relying on didactic instruction.
Logged

Michal: "SC, love you in this thread."
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,524



« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2009, 11:24:30 PM »

In his book, Hesychia and Theology, His Grace, Hierotheos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, writes “According to the patristic meaning of the word, everyone is a psychopath, that is to say, his soul is sick….For the psychiatrist, the psychopath means…he is suffering from a psychosis: a schizophrenic. From the Orthodox standpoint, however, it is someone who has not undergone purification of the passions or attained illumination…”  (pg.26)

Thanks Ukiemaster for providing a very good example of "good Orthodox fathers and clergy (who) have a very foggy idea about the work of the human brain." We did not have to delve too far back either: His Eminence Hierotheus is my age.
How do the Metropolitan's words contradict our scientific understanding of the human brain?  Is it possible that he's offering a differing perspective to be considered together with the scientific, and not instead of?

I would really hope that the quotation does not reflect the Metropolitan's understanding of mental illness. However, the quotation stands on ts own and the problem is that the Metropolitan picked a very organic mental disease--schizophenia. The quotation also implies that the only cure for schizophenia is to undergo purification of the passions or attain illumination. I think that the common Orthodox position today would be (a) recognize the utility of medical and counseling interventions in conjunction with (b) praying for the Lord to heal the disease. I do not think that you would find an appreciable number of bishops who would would blame it all on the diseased individual's failure to purify his passions. It really is like saying cancer, multiple sclerosis, autism, mental retardation, type one diabetes, etc. are caused by lack of faith or effort on the part of the afflicted. Again, I pray and hope that the Metropolitan has been misunderstood and misrepresented by the poster.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 11:33:26 PM by Second Chance » Logged

Michal: "SC, love you in this thread."
Tags: suicide 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.16 seconds with 54 queries.